7 Tips for Writing a Great Resume
What is a resume?
A resume is a document that you give an employer when applying for a job. It outlines your skills, personal qualities and work history and shows why you would be great for the role.
Employers use applicant resumes to work out who will get an interview. It’s a good idea to think of your resume as a personal advertisement – so it needs to be well written and show off your best skills and qualities.
What should I include in my resume?
Regardless of what format you choose, every resume should contain the same type of information. This includes:
Contact information, so you can be easily reached.
Your work history, including the name of your employer, your job title and the years you worked in each position. You should also list your duties and any specific achievements for each role.
Education information, including what you studied (course name or high school certificate) where you completed the courses and the dates/years of study.
Technical skills or personal qualities that highlight why you would be an excellent fit for the role. Technical skills include things like computer or communication skills, while personal qualities are parts of your personality that would make you great for the job, such as being thoughtful or friendly.
A list of 2-3 references. Depending on the job application instructions or the length of your resume you may also choose to simply write – references available on request.
Why is a great resume important?
The value of a well written resume is priceless. It is the first step in landing a job and your first chance to make a positive impression on an employer.
So how do you create a resume that will help you stand out and win an interview? Here are my top seven tips for a great resume:
Present your work history with your most recent position first
A chronological resume lists your work experience in order of date, with your most recent position listed at the top. This format is straightforward and easy to read, which makes an employer’s job a little easier.
If you are applying for your first job, you could also include volunteer or internship positions to showcase your relevant skills and experience.
Showcase your achievements
When you write the descriptions for each of your jobs, place your most important accomplishments first. You should also explain what you achieved rather than what you did. For example, instead of saying, ‘I answer phone calls’, you could write ‘I direct incoming phone calls to the most appropriate person in a timely, professional and friendly manner.’
You may also choose to highlight your achievements in your cover letter or place them in their own section on your resume. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is that they are relevant to the position and address the job criteria listed in the job advertisement.
Include action or power verbs
Power verbs express an action and provide instant information to an employer. By using words like develop, manage and organise you can make your achievements stand out and show employers you make things happen.
Using present tense also helps you shorten your descriptions and show off your skills more concisely. You want to make every word on the page count!
Use key words from the job description
The first step is to review the job advertisement or selection criteria document and find the key words they have listed. These are short phrases or words that describe the skills, experience, qualifications and qualities the employer is looking for in an employee
Try to incorporate most, if not all, of these key words into your resume. This will help an employer see you have the right skills, experience and abilities to do the job when they scan your application.
Keep it short and easy to read
Depending on your work history your resume will be between 1-3 pages and should include employment information that dates back no longer than 10 years.
To keep your resume short and easy to read you can also use these tips:
Include only work history, achievements, education and skills that are relevant to the employer
Use a professional font and apply it consistently
Include clear headings
Use bullet points
Review your writing to see if you can say the same information more efficiently
Proofread, proofread, proofread
After putting in all the work of creating a great resume, the last thing you want is to turn a potential employer off with bad grammar or spelling! This is where a careful proofread comes in. Here are some tips to catch all those pesky mistakes before you hit send:
Use spell check but don’t rely on it completely
Read your writing out loud
Print it out and read it
Ask someone else to proofread it
Proofread your work and then leave it until you are ready to come back with fresh eyes
Treat it as a working document
A great resume and cover letter should be tailored to the job you are going for and contain your most up to date work history and experience. This means updating your documents each time you apply for a role.
While sending out a generic resume and cover letter to multiple employers may seem like a time saver, this will actually lower your chances of landing an interview! Instead, try standing out by customising your resume and showing an employer how you could be a great asset to their team.
Still need help? Contact email@example.com for access to the FREE EYDN resume and cover letter template!